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Edward Albees Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf is a disturbing and powerful work Ironically it is disturbing and powerful for many of the same reasons As the audience watches George and Martha tear savagely at each other with the knives of hurled words sharpened on pain and aimed to draw blood the way in which these two relentlessly go at each other is awful to see yet strangely familiar Like wounded animals they strike out at those closest to them and reminds one of scenes witnessed as a child between screaming parents from a cracked door when one is supposed to be in bed In this age of psychoanalytic jargon George and Martha are the quintessentially dysfunctional couple Yet with all their problems Albee reveals that there is a positive core of feeling that unites these two troubled people and that helps them look beyond their self-created hell The truth of their relationship is exposed layer by layer as the play progresses like the peeling of an onion and though the pattern of this truth appears vague at first with each cycle of revelation the pattern becomes more distinct and the picture is fully revealed in the final cathartic scene One of the most consistent themes of the play is the question of George and Marthas child and all that this child and children in general symbolizes for them The child seems not only a desire for fecundity within their relationship but also a projection through which they express many of their personal desires needs and problems and in this context the childs subsequent death signifies a milestone in their understanding of their marriage and of themselves By the end of play after much suffering and flagellation George and Martha appear ready to deal with their lives in a new way George and Martha have a history They are also emotionally trapped by this history especially that of their respective childhoods As a consequence
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